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The Paseo named one of the Top 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010

The mid-city’s historic Paseo district is now recognized as one of the nation’s most colorful and vibrant neighborhoods. Judges were impressed with its strong arts and merchant presence, as well as community support. Photo provided

Commercial area sets apart revitalized historic neighborhood

The American Planning Association (APA) has designated of The Paseo as one of 10 Great Neighborhoods for 2010 under the organization’s Great Places in America program.

APA Great Places exemplify exceptional character and highlight the role planners and planning play in creating communities of lasting value. It is the first APA Great Places in America designation in Oklahoma.

APA singled out the neighborhood for its historic architecture, colorful and Spanish-influenced commercial area, affordable housing, and strong citizen engagement and civic participation including an active arts community.

“This significant designation is a result of years of dedication from local artists, entrepreneurs, investors, neighbors and people passionate about The Paseo,” Ward 2 Councilman Sam Bowman said.  “This extraordinary architectural and artistic haven is the envy of cities across the country.”

Through Great Places in America, APA recognizes unique and authentic characteristics found in three essential components of all communities – streets, neighborhoods, and public spaces. APA Great Places offer better choices for where and how people work and live, and are defined by many things including planning, architectural styles, accessibility and community involvement.

Contributing to The Paseo’s unique character and strong sense of place is the Spanish Village, the neighborhood’s core commercial district along Paseo Drive. Spanish Mission Revival architecture, with stucco buildings and red roofs, dominates and differentiates the area from adjoining areas.

The Paseo Village, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, features more than a dozen art galleries and reflects the neighborhood’s investment in its arts community. Here, artists, businesses and residents have thrived together.

Colorful, early 20th Century bungalows comprise more than 60 percent of the Paseo Neighborhood Historic District, which was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. These brightly painted homes compliment the neighborhood’s artistic ambiance and many of art galleries.

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